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10 Causes Of Bad Breath

causes of bad breath
Published By Dr. Rachel Hall at 16 February, 2014

What Causes Bad Breath?

Some of the most common causes of bad breath are obvious, like you know it’s time to brush when you’ve had some particularly garlicky food or a good curry and you practically breathe fire first thing in the morning.

Many cases of bad breath are caused by untreated tooth decay, gum disease and mouth infections. Bad breath is the product of odour-causing bacteria building up in your mouth and between your teeth.

Makes me want to brush and floss my teeth a gargle a good mouthwash just thinking about it…

Reasons For Bad Breath

But there are some surprising non-dental causes of bad breath, known to dental professionals as halitosis.

1. Medications

It’s not that your prescription is causing a bad smell, but many medications cause dry mouth as a side effect. Saliva is essential to washing odour-producing particles free, so when there’s less of it, odour increases. It’s essentially the same reason you get morning breath. Try sipping small amounts of water regularly to keep your mouth moist and ask your dentist, as there are many products that help treat dry mouth.

2. Respiratory Tract Infections

Bronchitis or even a cold might be the cause of that bad smell. Respiratory tract infections cause bad breath thanks to nasal or sinus secretions passing into the throat and mouth. Bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections and postnasal drip can all lead to bad breath.

3. Mouth Breathing/Snoring

So you’re a mouth breather. Aside from your tendency to drool while you’re sleeping, you might find yourself with smellier than average breath upon waking. That’s because, just like with certain medications, breathing through the mouth cuts down on saliva, leading to a drier, smellier mouth. Mouth breathing and snoring can be a sign of underlying health conditions like sleep apnoea.

4. Obesity

Studies have found that obese people were more likely to have bad breath because organisms that live in the gut of obese people may give off a certain, distinctive gas, causing bad breath in the mouths of overweight individuals. The specific microbe in question is present in about 70 percent of people, but higher in about 30 percent, possibly predisposing those people to obesity.

5. Not Eating Enough Carbs

Atkins and Low Carb Diet fans will recognise the word “ketosis”. This fat-burning process occurs when the body turns to fats and proteins for energy since carbs aren’t available. In this state, however, the body releases certain chemicals into the breath that cause odour – and this isn’t a smell you can brush away. All the brushing, flossing and scraping of the tongue that you can do is not possibly enough to overcome this.

6. Underlying Medical Conditions

It might not be the typical “bad” breath you’re used to; rather a “potent” fishy smell could signal kidney problems, and whiffs of fruit could be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes. Even certain cancers produce chemicals in the body that may, in turn, lead to distinctive breath odour. Another underlying cause that contributes to bad breath is chronic heartburn since stomach acid is constantly refluxing.

7. Smoking and Tobacco Products

Smoking can make you end up smelling like an ashtray. And it doesn’t stop there. Smoke particles also dry the mouth causing odour-causing bacteria to run riot. Nicotine reduces the blood supply to the gums and allows bacteria to breed faster increasing a smoker’s risk of gum disease and more bad breath.

8. Excessive Drinking

Alcohol consumption causes your body to release some of the metabolised products of alcohol through your lungs and through sweat this causes bad breath. It can also dehydrate you and dry out your mouth. Hence alcohol consumption can cause a stale odour not only from your skin but also from your mouth.

9. Tonsil Stones

Lumps of food, mucus and bacteria that are calcified and appear as white spots on your tonsils, are called tonsil stones, which can produce bad breath.

10. Acid Reflux

Acid refluxing from the stomach to the oesophagus in GERD might produce a nasty smell and cause bad breath.

Often your friends, family or loved one will be too polite to tell you to have bad breath, even your dentist may be too embarrassed to mention that you have bad breath, after all, it is a sensitive topic. But as you can see bad breath may be a sign of serious underlying health issues that shouldn’t be ignored.

How do you know if you have bad breath?

Well apart from the dog not wanting to give you a kiss or your friends constantly offering you a mint how do you know as its impossible to smell your own breath. Ask your dentist to be brutally honest and have that difficult conversation about bad breath.

Try this test to check if your breath smells – Lick your wrist, let it dry for 10 seconds and then smell it. If you don’t come up smelling of roses then your breath needs a freshen up.

Brushing and flossing and great oral health help prevent bad breath as do regular visits to your dentist. So if it’s been 6 months or more since your last dental visit book an appointment today.

Evolve Dental Healing stocks a range of products specifically designed to alleviate the problem of bad breath naturally.

Call us to find out more 07 3720 1811

  • Dr. Rachel Hall

    Dr. Rachel Hall

    Rachel is the founder and principal dentist at Evolve Dental Healing with over 30 years experience, practising holistically since 2001. Not your typical dentist, Rachel is a passionate opinion leader, challenging convention to empower people to make better dental and health choices, helping thousands to have healthy natural smiles. A respected writer and presenter on holistic dentistry, health and wellness it is Rachel’s mission to revolutionise the way people look at their dental health.

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